Personal Advice for Expats and Returning New Zealanders

Tēnā koutou!

UDATE March 2024

New Zealand is digesting the news that our economy is sputtering into a 'technical recession'. A change of government has brought less certainty and more finger pointing over who is responsible...NEWSFLASH: Economists have dithered over this question since mid last year and have come to this astounding fact that we were, indeed, impacted by the pandemic and resulting global downturn.

Kiwis will not be bowed! Apparently, we have more houses on the market than in the last decade. We are still way short of homes needed! To be honest, sales figures do reflect a hesitancy of purchasing in a high cost of finance market. Let's be real: an interest rate of 3.5% was a lot more affordable than 6.99%. Our Reserve Bank is sticking to their guns to bring down inflation, so no help there - yet. Mooted OCR rate reductions vary between July and mid 2025. Meanwhile, most of us are a bit shocked by the price of coffee and a muffin these days. 

It's a great time to get into the market. Yes. Really. Very few people will suggest that home prices will drop. People who need homes are buying with slightly less competition - which is good for you!

Our New Zealand floodgates opened last year for returning Kiwis and others seeking our safe haven. For a while there you couldn't get in the door of a Home Auction much less win one. Thanks to our excellent record managing the pandemic, our economy continues to thrive despite protestations otherwise. In fact, New Zealand has recently expedited a number of visa categories to meet our high employment demand. We had over 126,000 net new migrants to New Zealand in 2023 with more on the way this year. 

I have been called to assist more expats in the complex process of preparing to secure a home upon arrival in New Zealand. Financial advice and homebuyer coaching are included in my service to local mortgage clients. However, many buyers who are early in their planning or who may not need financing are left to fend for themselves in an increasingly complex time. In response, I am offering 'advice only' as a separate service if you need a bit more assistance to navigate the new turf, or if you are overseas now, to help you make that transition with confidence. 

As a dual USA/NZ citizen since 1996, I have moved continents a few times myself and am very familiar with the complex issues new residents face. As a Financial Adviser, I am in a unique position to offer custom coaching toward your effort to find and buy a home. I provide impartial advice and perspectives from the initial goal-setting process to your settlement. I do not accept referral fees from any of my trusted local experts (valuers, agents, lawyers, inspectors, etc.) so you can be assured that we are all working in your best interest. I will be your person on the ground to assist in negotiations, assessment, and prospective property reviews both before and after you arrive. I am not a legal counsel or sales agent and will only provide my professional expertise during the process of purchasing a home for your specific needs. I can refer great professionals to assist you and will proactively liaise with your solicitor and other agents to bring your voice to the table. 

My expertise as a banker and mortgage adviser spans 20+ years in the USA and New Zealand. In the USA, I was a certified Veteran/Military, Senior, First Buyer, Native American, and Construction specialist lender, with in-depth knowledge of hundreds of loan programs and banks. Fortunately, things are simpler in New Zealand. Although the World Banking standards have created a higher standard of lending which has been a surprise to many kiwis! I'd like to emphasize that there are many potential pitfalls in New Zealand that a less experienced buyer may face. For example, we don't have buyer's agents per se, so you really are on your own (you can hire a specialist). Our system is very different from the UK, Europe, and the USA in particular so feel free to ask questions! 

Advice First is my offer of unbiased expertise at your service and customised to your needs. We can begin work on your behalf before you even land. Many of our expat clients get in touch a year or more out in their planning process. I can also connect you with Immigration and Taxation specialists to help you make your plan. 

 I'd love to offer you the help you most need on your journey to New Zealand!

FREE OFFER: Email or call on +64 9 445 0400 for a half-hour Facetime, Whatsapp or Zoom. Take this opportunity to discuss your situation and see if we are a good fit. I am happy to share resources on legal, real estate and other needs to get you going in the right direction. 


Ngā mihi nui,

Susan Templeton Personal Mortgage Adviser and Homebuyer Coach


Please note New Zealand Time is UTC +13 hours, so I may not answer if you call outside my on-call hours. (7am - 10pm NZST) 

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